In 2003, as part of the "Sending Electricity to the Rural Areas Program", Trina Solar built 40 off-grid solar power stations in Tibet to provide electricity to local citizens who for a long time lacked access to an electricity grid and thus basic necessities like having lights. In addition, Trina Solar donated a school to Tibet so that the community is able to enjoy the benefits of not only electricity, but also education.
This program is a milestone in the Chinese solar industry, since it shows the advantages of solar energy as a distributed power source. The experiences and capabilities in solar system design and construction which have been gained thus far have set the foundation for the world’s solar energy sector to grow. It also marks the starting point where solar energy moves from being a replacement energy source to a mainstream source as costs have been falling from 10rmb/kwh to 1rmb/kwh today, which from the user's end already achieves Grid Parity.
Solar enables people off grid to achieve leapfrog development in accessing electricity by eliminating the huge investment of setting up grid infrastructure. The access to solar energy also connects people from remote areas to the rest of the world by electricity powered IT devices enabling the inclusion of these areas into modern day’s interconnected societies.
Places with no access to an electricity grid can gain competitive advantage by utilizing off-grid solar systems. It is a solution which does not require huge investment in grid infrastructure, it does not depend on traditional energy as power source, and it also enables people from these remote areas to get closer and connect to the rest of the world by power enabled IT devices such as mobile phones and laptops.
As electricity, education, and information come together to these areas the gap between these areas and the rest of the world could be quickly and cost effectively off-set.